This module is a resource for lecturers

Additional teaching tools

This section includes links to relevant teaching aides such as PowerPoint slides and video material, that could help the lecturer teach the issues covered by the Module. Lecturers can adapt the slides and other resources to their needs.

Role play (organization of a migrant smuggling and human trafficking network)

Read the following scenario and follow the instructions below to start the role-play.


A transnational organized criminal group, composed mostly of Somali, Sudanese and Libyan individuals was involved in smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons. The defendant's role within the organized criminal group was to guard the migrants, who were maintained in slavery-like conditions in Libya, before they would be smuggled to Italy.

The migrants were coercively detained by the smugglers after their arrival in Libya from Syria. The smugglers would take all their possessions and then demand from their families a ransom for their release (up to USD 5500), or a fee deemed appropriate for continuation of the journey to Italy.

The payments would then be processed with the help of the Hawala method. Once the payments were received, the migrants would either be abandoned in Libya or sold to other smugglers who would facilitate the journey to Italy.


Hawala is an example of an informal system of money exchange. It is a method of transferring money without any actual movement of cash. It is an alternative remittance channel that exists outside of traditional banking systems and is very difficult to monitor. Transactions between Hawala brokers are performed informally (leaving no paper trail) because the system is heavily based on trust.

In May 2017, 307 individuals were rescued from a vessel close to the Libyan coast by a tugboat, which transferred the passengers to a Coast Guard ship from Italy. Upon interrogation, five migrants confirmed the role of one of the smuggler in the organized criminal group that had arranged for their journey to Italy, who was also rescued by the Italian vessel. They further declared that the smuggler had threatened some of them not to give incriminating declarations against him. Others he had asked for forgiveness. Some migrants declared that deaths had occurred amongst the kidnapped migrants, either due to disease or as a result of torture and maltreatment.

The smuggler was indicted by an Italian court for migrant smuggling, participation in an organized criminal group, trafficking in persons, and kidnapping with the purpose of extortion.


  1. Students are assigned to read the publications listed below as part of their home assignment:
  1. The role-play simulation itself should take place in class and should be allocated at least 45 minutes of class time.
  2. Students in class are divided into small groups. Each group is assigned one of the roles below:
    • Mohammed: a Somali citizen who organized cross-border smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons operations; the main defendant in the case;
    • Ibrahim: a Libyan citizen, a food kiosk owner in Kufrà; responsible for coercively detaining the migrants;
    • Fatima: 19-year old irregular migrant from the Syrian city of Homs;
    • Hassan: Fatima's Father;
    • Kamar: Ibrahim's old friend from Homs; owner of a small grocery store.
  3. Students are asked to create a criminal network to demonstrate a hawala transaction.
  4. After the role-play, students are asked to draw the structure of the hawala network on blackboard and explain the significance of this operation for organized criminal groups and the ability of law enforcement to disrupt them.

Online resources

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